Most quilt museums, quilt conservators and professionals in the field make recommendations for how to hang quilts based on experience with different systems and a common-sense approach to caring for textiles. New and antique quilts require different display options. Select a method according to the condition of the quilt. Never hang fragile quilts.
Most antique quilts should not be displayed by hanging. The weight of the hanging quilt puts undue stress on fibres and stitches and can cause irreparable damage. Display antique quilts flat, if possible, or folded. Pad folds with acid-free tissue or clean cotton muslin so there are no sharp creases in the fragile fabrics.
Many newer quilts are created as art quilts or wall quilts. The intent is for them to be displayed by hanging. The quilt artist incorporates strength and stability in the quilt so that it can be hung without fear of damage. Artists often create a reinforced edge and a customised placket to ensure safe hanging for individual works.
Method: Quilt Hanging Sleeve
Professionals recommend this methods. Sew a cotton fabric sleeve, usually muslin, to the back of the quilt's top edge. Pass a rod through the sleeve and support the ends of the rod with brackets, much like a curtain would be hung. The rod provides support that is evenly distributed across the entire edge of the quilt, reducing the possibility of distortion.
Method: Mount onto Frame
Make a wooden frame the size of the quilt. Cover the frame with stretched unbleached cotton muslin, similar to an artist's stretched canvas. Lay the quilt face down with the frame upside down over it. Anchor the framed muslin to the quilt by stitching at intervals over the entire area. Stitch through the muslin and the back of the quilt; catch in some batting but not the front of the quilt. This distributes the support over the entire quilt and not just along one edge.
Mount the hanging hardware on the support frame instead of the quilt.
Method: Wooden Clamp Hangers
Some quilt hangers are two-part wooden clamp-type fixtures. Mount the fixture to the wall. Insert the edge of the quilt between the pieces of wood. Screw together the wood pieces to clamp the quilt into place. This creates "stretch points" where each clamp holds only a narrow bit of the quilt. The rest of the quilt between the clamps will sag and stretch, becoming distorted. Professionals do not recommend this type of hanger.
Method: Invisible Clip Hangers
Invisible hanger systems use a series of metal hooks mounted on the wall and a slotted rod. Mount the back of each hook section to the wall. Use a level to guide placement. Slide the metal rod into the fabric quilt hanging sleeve with the slot facing away from the quilt. Hang the quilt by pushing the hooks into the slot. Push in the fabric sleeve along with the hooks.
This system will eventually make holes in the fabric sleeve where the hooks poke into it. Professionals usually frown upon this type of quilt hanger.
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